A TOTAL of nine ‘illegal paramilitary or terrorist’ roadside monuments have been erected in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, accounting for almost half of all those in the North .
The figures, which show that the local area has the greatest poliferation of the so-called ‘IRA statues’, were released last week by the Department of Regional Development and have led to a war of words between local politicians.
Some of the memorials commemorate those who died in the 1981 hunger strike
Objections to the memorials are mounting with Unionist politicians branding them as ‘highly offensive’ and ‘profoundly insulting’ and demanding their removal.
DUP MLA Maurice Morrow called on Minister Kennedy to ‘tackle head-on the scourge of unauthorised memorials erected in honour of terrorsists who caused mayhem and destruction for years’
“It is alarming to learn that the majority of these are in South Tyrone. Undoutedly Sinn Fein have a role to play also. “They should be sitting down with the Minister to discuss the way forward for the immediate removal of such vile monuments and the crimes for which they stand.”
However, Sinn Féin MLA Bronwyn McGahan has said that the number of republican memorials in Fermanagh and Tyrone is testament to the esteem that the Nationalist community holds ‘our patriot dead’.
“The number of memorials in Fermanagh and Tyrone is due to the size of the area and the large number of people who lost their lives in pursuit of Irish freedom.
“As Irish Republicans we have equal rights to honour and commemorate our patriot dead. These memorials have been erected by local communities to honour and respect those who have died in the pursuit of Irish freedom and maintained to a high standard. This is testament to the esteem that these men and women hold within our communities.”